My husband and I moved into our new home in April 2015, just in time to experience our first Rocky Mountain spring. There are no words to describe this adequately, but this picture does a great job.

021516image

 

The thing I noticed the first time I walked into this house—windows. Tons of windows framing our new view and every one of them dirty. It looked to me as if no one had ever washed them.

I did my due diligence in researching local professional window washers. For sure we would have to pay to have them cleaned properly. But it would be one and done. We would keep them clean and that would be an easy task. Of course.

The price was ridiculously high, but the job got done and the windows sparkled. That’s when I set out to discover the best (easiest, fastest, cheapest, sparkly-est) way to keep these windows clean—not only dust-free but also clean.

Surprise. It’s not with Windex, paper towels, newspaper or other methods I may or may not have recommended in the past, which produce a big mess—dripping, soggy, dirty paper towels and windows with streaks that can be difficult to remove.


MORE: How I Dry Cleaned My Windows


The right tools

I have invested in the right window-washing tools. You need the right tools, too, or you are going to waste a lot of time and money trying to get your windows streak-free and sparkling like diamonds. Look for tools like these at your local big box store, home improvement center, or online. For your convenience and also so you can see what I’m referring to below, I have provided Amazon links for each of these specific tools. Read more

multi-ethinic arms outstretched to ask questions.

If it’s Friday, it just might be Ask Me Anything day when I reach into the mailbag and pull out three recent questions from my loyal, loving readers—two of them with the same name!

My dog recently had a “scare” and piddled on my hardwood floor. I did not catch it right away. I now have a stain. Is there anything you would recommend to get rid of it without refinishing the floor? Thank you. Linda

Dear Linda: This is tough. It’s difficult to know if you have a stain sitting on top of the floor or if the floor’s stain has been penetrated and bleached by the heavy presence of ammonia in dog urine. Regardless, it’s surely worth a try to see if this can be reversed. Here is a recipe and instruction for removing dog urine from a hardwood floor:

Read more

I had a serious déjà vu moment when I pulled today’s first reader tip from my inbox. Roseanne’s tip brought back a memory of my grandfather doing this very thing on the big, black cast iron wood range that sat in my grandparents’ tiny kitchen in Potlatch, Ida.

The stove had a door with a glass window to observe the fire burning inside. When it would get covered with black soot and sticky grime, he would clean that door so my grandmother could see when she needed to add more wood to the stove. Sounds like something out of the dark ages, so for the record, I was a very, very young child!

20688040_m

Fireplace glass

This is a trick I learned from my mother for cleaning the glass on the fireplace or stove doors that get fouled with smoke and soot, becoming opaque so you cannot see and enjoy the flame.

First spread newspaper on the floor then open the door. Take another wadded up page of a newspaper, wet it, dip it in the ashes and use it to clean the glass. This will remove everything from the glass without scratching or harming it in any way.

Last step: Wad up one last piece of newspaper and use it to wipe away all of the crud and nastiness. The result is quite amazing and the price is right. Rosanne Read more

You just paid a small fortune for new eyeglasses. On top of the cost for prescription lenses and fashionable frames, you opted for Anti-Reflective, Anti-Scratch and UV Coatings too. 

Mother and daughter with eyeglasses

After all, eyesight is a precious thing and it’s only wise to do all you can to protect it, right? Absolutely! But here’s the deal: You may be destroying your investment one cleaning at a time.

Read more

Ever had the occasion to wonder where you’ve been all your life? That’s my reaction to a simple heavy-duty cleaning product, Lestoil.

Apparently, it’s been manufactured right here in the USA for decades and loved by many. Curiously, I’d never even heard of it—let alone used it like a rabid fan—until only a few years ago.

Woman Thrilled by the Results of Lestoil Heavy-Duty Stain Treatment

On the off chance you, too, are not familiar with the powerful cleaner of all things hopelessly stained, here are 10 things you will be glad you know.

Lestoil Heavy Duty CleanerLestoil Heavy Duty Cleaner

Heavy-duty grease and stain remover

Lestoil (pronounced less-toil … get it?) can be used full-strength on stains—especially really difficult stains; the kind of stains you just give up on like ink, toner, grease, oil, scuff marks, blood, lipstick, nail polish, paint, grass stains, coffee stains, crayon and marker stains on every surface you can imagine. Even the sticky stuff left behind by stickers and labels.

Really old

Lestoil has been around since 1933. While I have not been around quite that long, this makes me wonder where I have been since I’ve only learned about Lestoil more recently.

So far 100%

Lestoil has removed every old stain I’d given up on as well as every new stain I’ve acquired since the two of us met—on clothing, carpet, concrete and all kinds of patio furniture including molded plastic. It removed black stains that accumulated on outdoor furniture covers.

RELATED: How to Make Sure You are Using the Right Amount Laundry Detergent

It made short order of some ugly stains on cultured stone. It removed that gross, sticky residue that shows up on vinyl and plastic, restoring it back to its former glory.

So far, Lestoil has worked on everything I’ve tried, most recently this shirt (with apologies to all of my expert photography readers—I promise to work on my lighting ).

Before After Results of Lestoil Heavy-Duty Stain Treatment

Before After Results of Lestoil Heavy-Duty Stain Treatment

It’s soapy

Lestoil contains, among other things, sodium tallate, which is a type of soap. This means that once the job is done, it must rinsed out, washed off or otherwise removed to make sure the item being treated doesn’t retain a residue that will attract a new stain.

Read more

Some time ago I got a message, which reminded me about the wonder of an ordinary product most people have somewhere in the house. Georgia wrote …

hydrogen-peroxide-poured-onto-cloth-for-cleaning

“I had a cut on my hand that opened up while I was putting my expensive duvet cover (recent wedding gift!) on my comforter, now I have blood stains where I touched it. Is there any hope of getting these stains out completely? I tried using a carpet cleaning solution and washing it but those stains remain. I’m worried they’ll be there permanently. Thanks so much for your help!” Georgia

I responded immediately, directing Georgia to soak the stains with fresh, full-strength hydrogen peroxide. I heard back quickly. The hydrogen peroxide lightened the stains almost immediately, and within hours they disappeared completely.

I’ll be honest that back then, removing blood stains was about all I ever used hydrogen peroxide for. And because it has such a short shelf life, I was forever throwing out old, useless hydrogen peroxide.

Since then, I’ve learned so much and done extensive research and wow. The stuff is downright wonderful—so awesome in fact, I never throw hydrogen peroxide away anymore. It doesn’t have time in my home to age out. That’s how much I use it.

Read more

You know by now just how much I love my Shark vacuum cleaner. And given my readers’ letters and comments, I know that many of you have Sharkies, too.

I love your messages. They make me smile because I understand the range of emotions that come from using a Shark vacuum for the first time—from amazement to flat out embarrassment.

Where on earth did all of this dirt and debris come from? I can’t believe what’s been lurking in my carpet!

With all of the miles I’ve put on my numerous Shark vacs over the years, I’ve never had one fail. And while the manufacturer boasts that Sharks never lose suction, that is predicated on regularly cleaning Sharkie’s canister, filters, and rotating brush.

It’s right there in the owner manual, which most of us don’t think to read until we have a problem. You need to clean your Shark every three months to keep it working at top efficiency—more often with heavy use. It’s easy.

Signs Sharkie needs a bath

  • loss of suction
  • dirt being left behind
  • sounds weird like Sharkie is gasping for air
  • an unpleasant, dirty odor

Read more

There’s an illness that has been documented by poets for centuries and I’ve got it. It’s Spring Fever, that wonderfully amorphous disease we all recognize come April and May.

Spring fever remains a fuzzy medical category, but there has been a great deal of research on how seasonal changes affect our mood and behavior. I know how it affects me—it makes me want to clean!

spring-cleaning-with-spring-fever

While I don’t invite all my friends over to help, I have built quite a team that makes the job, if not fun, at least enjoyable. Today, I’d like to introduce you to each member of my awesome spring clean team.

Deep Cleaning Brushes

I got the initial set as a gift from a friend who knows me well. I love to clean nooks and crannies, which is crazy, but true nonetheless.  OXO Good Grips Kitchen Appliance Cleaning Set specific cleaning tools are perfect but not only for the kitchen. I use them on grout, in corners; along baseboards. And into the dishwasher they go almost daily, to get sanitized. Watch out nooks and crannies. Your dirty days are fast coming to an end.

Squeegee

I suppose that windows would win if I could have only one item on my spring clean list of dirty things to clean. There’s just nothing like looking at spring through sparkling, crystal-clear windows. Want to know the secret to the sparkle? A good squeegee and the best scrubber to go with it.


MORE: Sparkling Clean Windows—Cheaper, Better, Faster!


Microfiber Cloths

Forget the paper towels. And the terry cloth. When it comes to serious cleaning of anything—especially glass and mirrors—there’s nothing more efficient than microfiber because it is lint-free and streak-free. A set will last for years. And years.

Read more